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Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas Presence (2018)

More holiday horrors. This English production starts off with a couple of young girls playing in the woods. Seemingly one of them is grabbed by a tree or something before the setting moves to years later. McKenzie has booked a house for her friends to party at during the Christmas season. In case you were wondering she is one of the little girls from earlier now all grown up. He father has recently died so everyone is coming to cheer her up. To that end she has rented a house in the country. I’m sure that it’s close proximity to her sister’s place of disappearance wont’ be important.

After meeting the other characters we are then given multiple party montages with drinking, snarky comments, and even an impromptu lingerie show! One of them is a clothes designer who gifts his friends clothes from his new line. There is a lot of talk about gender, politics, and being gay. None of this particularly bothered me for the content. I just mention it because between that and the extended party scenes it takes far too long to get to any of the spooky stuff. Though eventually Hugo, the fashion designer, disappears and they split up to go looking for him. So here we go with the horror… right? Nope they all wander around, some feelings are discussed, and eventually they return back to the house.

After a while they find his body by the woodpile where I guess they never thought to look earlier. That is when the spooky stuff starts to happen. There is some malevolent force picking them off one at a time. They all see something different as it uses their greatest fear to kill them. Though some of them are a stretch. I mean the claustrophobic girl dying by a couch “eating” her! Sure she suffocates but is that really the best they could do? If they had been playing this for laughs maybe but this is supposed to be serious.

Eventually we find out there is a local caretaker who I guess worships Satan, honestly one throwaway line ten seconds before the end credits roll is all we get. He is there to clean up the bodies after they are murdered. To answer my question from earlier the location near the sister’s disappearance ends up not being important at all. They never tie her the Satanist and other than being McKenzie’s fear. She has guilt over leaving her, which is never completely explained either. So, in the end it seemingly is a random coincidence.

Not a fan of this one. The story does have an interesting germ of an idea at it’s core but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I was unsatisfied with the limited screentime that the Satan worshipping caretaker gets. He actually seemed like an interesting fella but is hardly onscreen. Instead, we are treated to a bunch of uninteresting caricatures with McKenzie and her friends. I don’t blame the cast as they all seem to be doing their best with the paper thin story and terrible dialogue. I just didn’t buy that these folks would actually be friends and want to hang out. The fact that the movie doubles down and tries to make the plot more about the drama in their lives and less about the horror just added to how tedious sitting thru Christmas Presence was.

The visuals are stunning
The deaths in this movie are fairly tame. Many happen off screen and others are just odd. I’ve already mentioned the death by couch but have you ever seen a death by coughing up buttons? Like actual buttons from a cardigan! Maybe I missed something but was it established that the character had a phobia about buttons? I did find one particular kill with a character slashing his own throat only to be stabbed and hacked after dropping to the ground to be solid. The final kill in the movie has a Wicker Man vibe to it but is poorly done. Again, I feel the need to remind filmmakers to never remind the audience of a much better movie they’d rather be watching. This was a terrible way to end the movie and left me even more disappointed in what I had just watched.

While most of my review has been negative I will give the movie some credit. It is beautifully shot. They certainly know how to make the woods and old house look and feel creepy. Some of the creature effects are good as well. But in the end this one starts off slow and ends with a whimper. I can’t recommend Christmas Presence.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Monday, December 18, 2023

Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 (1987)

This is a sequel to a movie that I rather like. You can check my review for the original Silent Night, Deadly Night here. This movie also has it’s fans, which my review is likely going to piss off! I suppose that is a spoiler, but I feel like my criticisms aren’t going to be covering any new ground. But in case you haven’t seen this one before I might as well start with a plot synopsis… what there is of it anyway.

The killer from the original movie was named Billy. In that movie we see that he had a younger brother named Ricky. Both of them end up in a Catholic orphanage after their parents are killed by a criminal dressed as Santa Claus. He also attempts to rape the mother in front of Billy before slitting her throat. Years later when they are older and Billy has turned eighteen he gets a job at a toy store and gets put in a Santa suit. When told to do what Santa does… well you can figure it out. He starts killing anyone who is naughty and after a while pretty much anyone who gets in his way.

Now you might be asking yourself, “Why are you recapping the plot to an entirely different movie in a review for the sequel?” That is an excellent question that I’m about to answer. Most of the plot to Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 is told by Ricky to a psychiatrist after he has been arrested for going on his own homicidal rampage. So basically, we get a ton of flashbacks. In fact, the first forty minutes of this eighty eight minute long movie is just the best parts of the original cut in as his memories. Half of this sequel is recycled footage! You know I’d much rather be watching that movie than this one.

When we finally do get to the original material it is also told in flashback form. That means we get random bits with characters getting introduced to either die or date Ricky and then die. He meets an abusive boyfriend and runs him over with a jeep. Then there is a loan shark who he stabs with an umbrella. Finally he meets a pretty woman named Jennifer and they do some grown up hugging. After that she gets really annoyed at him when he murders her ex-boyfriend with a battery charger. So he strangles her with an antenna from a car. When a security guard shows up he takes his gun and shoots people until he runs out of ammo and is arrested.

Yeah got it... Garbage Day.
Though they apparently didn’t have enough new material so there is another couple random kills after he breaks out of the mental hospital where he was being interviewed. Somehow, again zero narrative in this flick just random scenes strung together, he ends up attacking the nun from the first movie who is clearly not played by the same actress we just saw in the extended flashbacks.

This is just a miserable movie to sit thru. There is zero attempts at story or character. As I’ve already stated half of this movie are the highlights from the original. When they get to the new stuff it plays like someone was making it up as they went. It gets awfully tedious watching characters appear form nowhere to die, rinse and repeat. There isn’t even a story here. None of this is helped by the fact that actor Eric Freeman is required to carry the movie. I have no idea what he was thinking but his performance is one of the worst that I’ve ever seen. He has said in interviews that he had conflicting direction about how he was supposed to portray Ricky, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But this is just terrible.

The Kills are lame.
I suppose being a slasher movie I need to talk about the kills. Just to be clear I’m ignoring all the gore from the flashback scenes. These filmmakers had nothing to do with that and I refuse to give them credit for it. Ricky is responsible for eleven deaths. Most of them are offscreen or the result of his shooting spree. These are completely uninspired and mundane, like the rest of the movie. There is a fun gag with an umbrella and the last kill has a head rolling. I mean neither are particularly great but by comparison with the rest of this mess they stand out.

If you are a fan of this movie cool. I myself also reference the legendary and badly delivered “Garbage Day” line ever Thursday night when I take out the trash. The lovely Mrs. Crappy Movie Reviews gets a kick out of it. Okay that was a lie. It annoys her much like this Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 annoys me. This one should have been binned and taken out many garbage days ago. You want to watch something cool go watch the original. That is a bit of festive fun for the whole family!


© Copyright John Shatzer 2023

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

It’s a Wonderful Knife (2023)

Continuing with some holiday horror I thought I’d check out this flick that just dropped on Shudder. I mean it has a catchy name and some familiar faces so why not? I mean I’m sure it is all gimmick and not very good… but then again, I could be wrong. 

We meet the members of a couple of families the Waters, and the Carruthers. Henry Waters, played by Justin Long (one of those familiar faces), is the mayor of Angle Falls and is a bit of a sleaze bag. No spoilers there as he is clearly trying to muscle in on the family-owned business’s downtown to remake Angel Falls into his own vision. The Carruthers are led by dad David, mom Judy and siblings Winnie and Jimmy. Well on Christmas a crazed killer wearing an angel costume murders and elderly man and then goes after Winnie and her friends. Though she manages to stop the murderer and reveal he was Henry, who clearly had a screw loose. But not before her best friend Cara dies. 

Now here is where the take on another famous holiday movie comes into play. A year later everyone but Winnie has moved on. She however isn’t in the mood for the holidays and after a big blow up with her family wishes she was never born. See what they did there? Any who without her stopping the killer due to never existing the town of Angel Falls has gone right to hell. The murders have hit twenty-six or twenty-seven (the characters can’t decide…) and Mayor Waters has taken control of the downtown. 

Since we already know who the killer is they just explain that he was targeting families who had property or businesses that he wanted to take. So it was all about money at least at first. Along the way she befriends the weird girl Bernie, finds out a secret about her boyfriend, and generally learns to appreciate her life, despite the murders. There are a few twists that I didn’t see coming before we get the happy ending with Winnie reuniting with her family in a world where she was born. I mean it is still a year later and a bunch of folks are dead… Merry Christmas?

Okay I know that I sounded a bit snarky in my plot synopsis. It may have also been a bit vague on details but that is because I really liked It’s a Wonderful Knife and don’t want to spoil it. The story is surprisingly sweet for having a body count of ten! Sure there are some brutal deaths, but we also get valuable life lessons in between the murders. Now that might seem like something that can’t and shouldn’t be able to exists together, but the story is so cleverly written that it does. I had expected a lazy cash in on a nod to a classic but there was real thought put into the characters, twists to mess with audience expectations, and dialogue. Nothing feels forced here, not even when an exchange like, “You are my George Bailey.” “Will you be my Clarence.” It feels natural and a connection the characters would make. This is what happens when a talented writer, in this case Michael Kennedy, is given time to flesh out character and story. 

Most of the cast is made of younger actors and actresses that I’ve not seen before. There are a few familiar faces with the previously mentioned Justin Long appearing. We also get Joel McHale as David Carruthers. I don’t believe that people give him enough credit as he is normally solid in any role he is given, and this movie is no different. There is also a very short buy memorable appearance from William B. Davis as an early victim of the killer. Who doesn’t love to see the Cigarette Man show up now and again? 

The kills are spaced out and decent enough. These aren’t classics like the old days, and they lean too much into digital for my taste. But there are a lot and many of them are cleverly conceived. The highlights for me are an eye stabbing, an axe to the back, a solid looking throat slash, and a satisfying gut stabbing. Thought the most festive has to be the candy cane thru the mouth. It was both Holly and Jolly!

It wasn’t until after I watched It’s a Wonderful Knife that I realized the director of this movie, Michael Kennedy, was responsible for Patchwork which is a movie that I dug a lot. He also made a movie called Tragedy Girls that I’ve been meaning to check out. I’ve caught bits of it, and it looks interesting. But I’m getting sidetracked. I highly recommend checking out It’s a Wonderful Knife. I think it will fill you with some holiday cheer. 

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Friday, December 8, 2023

Christmas Blood (2017)

A killer Santa movie from Norway! I’ve not seen one of those before… I mean I’ve seen one from Finland and another from the Netherlands (okay technically not Santa Claus but close enough!). But I’ve never seen one from Norway. Honestly, I was pretty excited to check it out.

The movie opens with a little girl sneaking downstairs to check out the presents under the tree while her father or maybe stepfather is snoring blissfully away. She tears and rattles things all while we see someone lurking behind her. There is a muffled scream and the father wakes up. Investigating the sound, he finds the girl dead and is quickly dispatched himself by someone dressed as Santa. The police arrive and find them butchered but manage to locate the killer and one of the cops, detective Rasch, puts several rounds into him.

As the credits roll, we see that the killer had been busy for many years racking up a body count well over a hundred. He also kept a naughty list that the police find, but never figure out why they were targeted. Though there is a bit of a throwaway line about them all being in trouble with the law at some point in time. We also find out that the killer Santa survived the shooting and was quietly and secretly locked up. But he has busted out, so it is up to a new detective, Hansen, to find him before too much murder occurs. Spoilers… it gets very bloody before he recruits the now retired and perpetually drunk Rasch to help him.

All while this is happening we meet up with another set of characters. They are all coming to an isolated town far in the north reaches of Norway to visit a friend named Julia. We find out that her mother was on Santa’s list but committed suicide. Though that doesn’t seem to bother the killer as when he arrives he just starts tearing thru Julia and her guests. Eventually the detectives figure out the pattern and arrive in time to save Julia, but her friends are toast. I suppose that is a spoiler but if you have ever watched a movie like this you should readily identify them as fodder for the body count. Things wrap up… well honestly, they don’t which is one of the issues I have with Christmas Blood.

I wanted to like this movie and there are things that I do enjoy, but it also has a couple fatal flaws that drag it down. The story is interesting with the killer having a naughty list that isn’t ever totally explained. I do like some mystery as to motivations when I’m watching what is basically a slasher movie. Sometimes the idea of a random killer targeting for reasons that no one really knows is scary. But then the story just meanders thru the hour and forty four minute runtime tossing characters at us who do nothing to move the plot around.

We see a sequence with Hansen visiting a morgue that allows the filmmakers to show us a very naked woman and a coroner who apparently loves pastries and likes to eat while he works. Admittedly this is amusing in sick way, but after spending time on it the detective declares it has nothing to do with the killer Santa and it is never mentioned again. We also have a random killing of a couple cops that are investigating someone on the list and find a body. They are then killed off themselves. Why bother? I mean we already know that the guy is a brutal killer, which is reinforced later, so what is up with the random characters just introduced to die?

This isn’t the first example of unneeded characters slowing things down. Before the killer arrives at the girls we get a couple of brothers added to the menu of victims who are there solely to die though not before participating in a drawn out “partying” dance montage. One of them does get to assault one of the women before being dispatched so I guess we are supposed to get some satisfaction out of his death. But really did we need a date rape in this flick? It adds nothing to the story other than a bit of nastiness. Hell, the girl doesn’t last more than a minute or two after her rapist and is killed in another way that violates her. Yeah, think The Mutilator. So now I was bored and annoyed which isn’t a good combination.

You'd better watch out... behind you!
I will give the movie credit for some inventive kills and the fact that they are plentiful. We get fifteen kills, with some happening offscreen and others being seen after the fact. There are butchered bodies, some head bashing, more than one decapitation (including the little girl in the beginning), some throat cutting, and lots of guts. Really this killer likes to drive his axe into many a midsection which leads to more than one person rolling around with their own intestines in hand. They must have really dug that effect/appliance because they use it a few times. There is a very Evil Dead fountain of blood as well. But my favorite kill in the movie has to be the guy getting his spine ripped out. Does it make sense? Not at all but I thought it was a fun gag.

I’ll also say that I thought a couple of the jump scares worked well. But in the end this movie is saddled with far too many characters and subplots to ever create any momentum. So, while the gore is an excellent payoff the scenes leading up to it failed to keep my interest. Overall it makes for a boring watch, and I can’t recommend Christmas Blood. There are much better Killer Santa movies out there to watch this most festive time of the year.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

12 days of Christmas Horror the 2023 edition!

I haven't done one of these in a while but have been feeling a bit festive this year so I thought I'd check out and review some newer Christmas Themed horror movies. Despite being called 12 Days of Christmas Horror I can't guarantee I'll get to twelve movies. I just dig the title so stuck it on my holiday marathon a few years ago when I did the first one. Also I should point out that not all of them are going to lean too heavily into horror as will be obvious with my first movie below, but more on that later. So I suppose we need to get on with the proceedings. 

New Reviews - My 2023 Marathon

Movie 1: Amityville Christmas Vacation (2022) - This independent movie is less than an hour long but director/writer/star Steve Rudzinski packs the short runtime full of good stuff. The movie leans heavily into the comedy but does have a ghost... so yeah horror. This one is a blast. Click here for my full review. 

Movie 2: Christmas Blood (2017) - Who doesn't love killer Santa Claus movies. I mean except for the super religious soccer moms who have been trying to ban this shit since the eighties. This one is from Norway and was interesting. Read my full review here

Movie 3: It's a Wonderful Knife (2023) - This one popped up on Shudder and has supporting performances from Joel McHale and Justin Long. That alone got my attention as well as the play on words that the title gives us. It ended up being a solid fun movie. Check out the full review here

Movie 4: Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2 (1987) - I've been avoiding this one for several years but figured it was time. Honestly I don't understand the love for this flick. It is bad... really bad. The best parts are in the forty plus minutes of reused footage from the original. Here is the full review. 

Movie 5: Christmas Presence (2018) - I found this one on Shudder and thought I'd give it a chance. Not great but I've seen worse. Yeah that is about the best thing I can say about this one. Follow this link to the full review. 

Well that is it for this mini marathon. Yeah it was short but with this being the holidays I got busy. I'll be back after the first of the year with more movie reviews. Might also drop my best of the year list on the 31st as well. If not I'll see you all next year!

Movies from previous years - the good stuff

I thought it might also be fun to mention some of my favorite Holiday Horrors that I've already covered for the site in previous years. These are the movies that I find myself rewatching every December to get in a festive spirit. Don't judge me!

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - The most controversial of all the Santa slasher movies this one lives up to the hype. Decent kills, including the most festive of murders, and a twisted storyline make for an excellent gift for all horror nerds. 

Jack Frost (1996) - A killer is doused in chemicals and bonds with the snow turning him into a mutant killer snowman! Plus Shannon Elizabeth has a shower scene... hey where did his carrot nose go? So good that they had to do a sequel!

Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000) - More Killer Snowman fun... this time in the tropics! Yeah it is warm but this is a mutant killer snowman so it makes sense. 

Letters to Satan Claus (2020) - Imagine what happens when someone at the SyFy channel decides to make a horror spoof of the one plot Hallmark has for their Christmas movies? You get this awesome bit of holiday horror. 

Fatman (2020) - Mel Gibson is a pissed off Santa Claus who is targeted by an even angrier mob boss who is also a child. This leads to a big showdown with a hired killer. This one is more action than horror but still a blast. 

Elves (1989) - Is this a good movie. Not at all. Do you need to see it? Absolutely! Why? Dan Haggerty, Nazis, and killer Elves summoned thru some sort of nonsense. Not often is bad good but here it is. 

A Christmas Horror Story (2015) - This awesome anthology is fun from start to finish. Toss in a story with William Shatner as a radio host and you have yourself the makings of a very merry evening. 

Santa's Slay (2005) - Bill Goldberg is a murderous Santa Claus. Do I need to say more? How about a star studded opening that sees some familiar faces including horror icon Chris Kattan (inside joke...sorry) brutally killed? 

Amityville Christmas Vacation (2022)

I’m a big fan of independent movies and one of my favorite indie filmmakers is Steve Rudzinski. Amityville Christmas Vacation is a continuation of his Wally Griswold character. The loveable and bumbling cop wins a contest to spend Christmas in scenic Amityville not knowing that the evil owner of the bed and breakfast has chosen him for her own nefarious purposes. There is an evil ghost haunting the place who she feeds unsuspecting guests too.

After saying goodbye to his cat and rats, who play important roles in the previous movies like Meowy Christmas and A Meowy Halloween, he heads off for a couple days of relaxation. When he arrives the ghost, Jessica, goes about trying to scare him. He is so clueless however that he keeps misunderstanding what is happening and apologizes to her. Confused she eventually falls in love with him, much to the dismay of the owner, Samantha, who decides to call in a ghost hunter to get rid of Jessica to get rid of the now unhelpful ghost. Seems she has gotten to like the killing and is rather annoyed. After a couple of funny twists and turns the movie ends. Is it a happy ending? Well… Wally has terrible luck. That is all I’m going to say here.

Clocking in at a quick forty seven minutes Amityville Christmas Vacation wastes no time on padding but jumps right into the gags. From an early bit with Wally packing an impossibly deep suitcase to the slapstick shenanigans that take place when Jessica is trying to scare him there is a lot to enjoy. If you have read any of my other reviews of low budget independent movies, you will be familiar with my “shoot what you have the resources for” mantra. Rudzinski is an excellent example of a filmmaker that gets that.

The cast is small which allows him to limit the number of speaking roles. This allows Rudzinski to use the actors he has available to him to the fullest. All of them are quite good which is especially important because comedy is hard. The dialogue is clever, another hallmark of his movies, so if the actors don’t have comic timing it would be spoiled. Here the jokes are delivered and land with a great deal of skill. This includes Rudzinski who not only wrote the script (along with Bill Murphy) and directed but also starred as Wally. Just great stuff.

From the first time I watched CarousHell I’ve been a big fan of this filmmaker. I’ve never been disappointed by his movies, including his earlier work which was way better than I would have expected for a director and writer just starting out. Check out this as well as his other movies at the Silver Spotlight website. Personally, I recommend the CarousHell movies (soon to be a trilogy!) but you can’t go wrong with any of them including Amityville Christmas Vacation.

Update: CarousHell 3 is out. Go check it out now! Seriously you wont' be disappointed. 


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Monday, December 4, 2023

Steel Arena (1973)

More automotive shenanigans with me checking out Steel Arena. The plot, such as it is, follows a driver named Dusty. When we first meet him, he is hitching a ride into a small town. He strolls into the bar and after letting the bartender know he can’t afford his drinks is offered a job. They want him to run some moonshine which leads to a car chase after the sheriff shows up at the still! Dusty isn’t getting paid because he lost the load but does end up in a brawl where he meets Buddy. The pair then take the car down to enter a destruction derby for the prize money. Not only do they win but are then offered a job as daredevils for the traveling stunt show.

The rest of the movie are the pair along with the other drivers and stunt folks going from town to town smashing cars, jumping and smashing cars, and flipping and smashing cars. There is a lot of smashing here. We also get an attempt at storytelling where Crash, another driver, gets jealous that Dusty is the new featured driver in the show and is getting all the good stunts. This leads to bigger and more dangerous stunts as everyone has to up their game. Folks start to die and then the credits roll.

Much like C.B. Hustlers, which I covered recently, this movie is light on plot. There is just enough narrative to connect the various stunt shows. The story follows the pattern of some talking, a stunt show, some more talking as they drive to the next town, and another show. We do get hints at subplots with the owner of the show manipulating Dusty into riskier tricks to draw bigger crowds. There is also a lady that travels with Dusty, though I don’t think she ever gets a name. They even setup the fact that a now fired and angry Crash is going to sabotage the big jump that happens at the end of the flick. Though nothing is ever shown on screen and things end abruptly with the final scene being the girl boarding a bus to go home. Story wise there isn’t much here.  

The lack of plot isn’t helped by the fact that the cast is made up of actual stunt drivers using their real names and not actors playing parts. This means when they do try to deliver lines it mostly comes off flat and uninspired. So maybe not spending much time trying to develop characters and storylines is a good thing. The flip side of this is the cast is doing the stunts on screen and that brings a realism to the proceedings you don’t see in most of these movies. Cars get smashed up and the character climbs out of them, many times without a cut (to the scene not the actor)! That was a cool twist on this familiar genre.

The stunts are also well executed and since most of them are on tracks as part of a show take place in a controlled environment where they can really crank things up. Though the same tricks are show again and again as they build up the desire to jump further and flip more. From a narrative standpoint it makes sense, but seeing it play out repeatedly gets a bit old. Still, I think that while this isn’t a great movie it does bring enough mayhem and smashed up old cars that fans of this subgenre will dig it enough for at least a single watch.

Not a huge recommendation but unlike some of the other tedious entries I’ve covered, again C.B. Hustlers is a prime example, there are enough payoffs with the car crashes that I can’t completely hate it. But then again, I did grow up in the seventies where going to the county fair to see folks purposely run into each other until either they or the car couldn’t continue was considered a fun Saturday night! Still is actually…


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

Friday, December 1, 2023

Hooch (1977)

Eddie Joe, played by Gil Gerard, is running shine and the sheriff knows it. But every time he tries to catch him in the act he either gets away or doesn’t have anything on him. This is especially annoying to the sheriff because Eddie Joe is sweet on his niece Ginnie. If the criminal stuff isn’t enough, he is pissed off that Eddie Joe is stepping out with another woman, Jamie Sue, the daughter of one of the other moonshiners! Toss in the fact that Eddie Joe is the only supplier of shine that refuses to pay the sheriff off and it gets messy.

It gets worse when a stranger shows up in town. His name is Tony, and he is a mobster checking out the local bootlegging scene. When he sees how much money can be made he brings his boss in and they start making plans to take over. With the help of Old Bill, Jamie Sue’s pop, they locate the other stills and blow them up. Then they try arranging a meeting and try to blow up the bootleggers themselves. Along the way they try to frame Eddie Joe for the crime and turn the locals against him. Not only does he have the best shine, but his still is hidden and is the only one they haven’t been able to get rid of. This leads to a big finale with a shoot out and a car chase. Damn I forgot to mention that Eddie Joe drives a sweet El Camino.

I really liked this movie. It is a mix of carsploitation, moonshiners, and hicksploitation blended in a fun package. Gerard is great as Eddie Joe playing it low key and laid back. It is almost as if the part was written for his personality, which it was. He also wrote the story that the script was based on! There is always something happening on screen whether it is him romancing one of the two ladies, cracking wise with the sheriff, or the comedic gags with the locals it is a blast. There is a bit in the middle with a musical number and a lot of dancing and a bar fight that feels like padding where Hooch slows down a bit. But then the movie does pick up after that and ends in a fun finale.

It was the '70s and Gil was cool!
I was expecting a bit more car chase action, but what we do get is fine. Honestly, I don’t think they had the budget to crash anything so manage your expectations. You do get to see a couple nice rides and folks do end up in disposable vehicles, so you know they are going over an embankment or into the river. The inclusion of the mobsters halfway thru feels a bit forced but the actors are decent and there are some laughs to be had. It was weird to see Danny Aiello in a movie like this. He plays Tony and ends up with a butt full of buckshot… comedy!

A few other things to mention about Hooch. The soundtrack is filled with some appropriate seventies’ country toons. There are some awesome lines like, “I like my bourbon old and my women young.” Seriously Eddie Joe is one smooth operator when it comes to the ladies! There is even a funny Kojak line that if you don’t recognize one of the actors you will miss, but it made me giggle. Finally, the financial success of this movie was partly responsible for the creation of The Dukes of Hazzard. Honestly as a child of the seventies how the hell did I not know about this movie before now?

I had a lot of fun with Hooch and recommend that you go track yourself down a copy. It is a fun bit of drive-in cheese that is a must watch for folks who dig cars, hicks, or are just looking for a fun way to kill ninety minutes.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer